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Petition to allow military training flights


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As I understand basically any realistic military training flights are prohibited on VATSIM unless you decided to join a VSO. 

Sure, I think VSO’s have their place in VATSIM however I still think that a non-VSO registered pilot should be able to fly certain mission types if they please. Perhaps solely non-combat missions are allowed for non-registered pilots. 

What if I don’t want to devote a lot of my time to a VSO with a crappy website and terrible support just so I can fly a P-3 every once and awhile?

Based on the current rules I am not allowed to fly a P-8A (86% commonality with 737-800) in circles over the ocean and return back to my origin airport. I am not allowed to fly a C-17 out for a low level training run. I am not allowed to do these flights even if I adhere to all real world airspace requirements. 

I think these rules are plain dumb and certain regulations should be reconsidered. I do see where the rule stems from, and that’s to avoid people being stupid in some fighter jet around busy airports. Maybe you can only utilize military aircraft from designated military airbases and installations?

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You may find the rules very restrictive, but due to the many animosities around the World, it isn't as simple as permission to do low-level flight etc. You and I might think little of it, practicing training along the Israeli border, Ukrainian, South China Sea,... you name it. But for some people this is a matter of living in a reality far away from the lives we're so lucky to have. Having a place on the internet, where we can relax from real life and just be persons enjoying a hobby/interest is a fantastic thing VATSIM is providing. The retrictions on military flights is one of the sacrifices I gladly endure. Having friends from places, where the politics is not so friendly towards neightbours, is only possible, if we refrain from creating situations, which embrace certain politics/thinking. 

Seeing pilots from "some countries" in your airspace, talking to them  - even if it is only a "hello" in their language  - is of greater importance to me, than allowing myself to do military flights without restrictions.

regards

 

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Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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10 minutes ago, Torben Andersen said:

You may find the rules very restrictive, but due to the many animosities around the World, it isn't as simple as permission to do low-level flight etc. You and I might think little of it, practicing training along the Israeli border, Ukrainian, South China Sea,... you name it. But for some people this is a matter of living in a reality far away from the lives we're so lucky to have. Having a place on the internet, where we can relax from real life and just be persons enjoying a hobby/interest is a fantastic thing VATSIM is providing. The retrictions on military flights is one of the sacrifices I gladly endure. Having friends from places, where the politics is not so friendly towards neightbours, is only possible, if we refrain from creating situations, which embrace certain politics/thinking. 

Seeing pilots from "some countries" in your airspace, talking to them  - even if it is only a "hello" in their language  - is of greater importance to me, than allowing myself to do military flights without restrictions.

regards

 

While I agree with the points you make, I don’t see how operating non-combat sorties would make some uncomfortable.

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Alec,  just do it.  I have had my time within VSOAs, and now simply go solo.  Like you say why couldn’t a b738 do VFR flights out over the ocean.  So someone needs to see you, suspect that you are breaching the rules, call a SUP.  The SUP then has to make a subjective call.  I would always just say I’m doing training.

case in point, I’ve seen a group of guys doing circuits in F18 out in the ocean and sometime with zero speed and alt of 60’.  Hmmm what could they land on out there?

Honestly, the rules are there to stop a military invasion by some kids which would disrupt others enjoyment.  The vast majority of my flights are Military, and I do not belong to a VSOA.

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Sean

C1/O P3

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2 hours ago, Torben Andersen said:

Well, an example could be 

 

Seems weird that we are now expected to be political researchers and somehow guess the keywords when doing a search before we fly.  I get your intent, but these days when everyone is offended it can’t be that they rule the world.  If someone had a complaint, then sure apologise and disconnect.  I have created ROC islands in the SCS and flown many military flights into and out of the islands without anybody crying.  Just saying, be respectful, but there is no need to lock ourselves up in “known” airspace.

Sean

C1/O P3

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Hi Sean

The point I'm trying to make is, that military flight on VATSIM is potentially very problematic, even unarmed flights. What isn't offensive to you might be to someone else. In the real World they should not rule the World, nor on VATSIM. On Vatsim the BoG are ruling the World, so I think Alec petition is right on - if you want to change the rules, you'll need to ask the BoG. 

So in my  view I would stick very closely to the rules set out for military flights. They are there for a reason. Bending the rules is a glideslope towards trouble. 

Edited by Torben Andersen
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Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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In our new world, everyone seems to get offended easily. Be it woke people, nationalist people (why are they here at all?), stupid people, smart people, members of minorities of all kinds etc.. This is the root of the problem, not "military flights" in a humanitarian context. On the other hand: why bother? If you want to land on aircraft carriers, then use DCS. But even there some members will get offended when you say that you are a member of VATSIM 😄

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I fully agree with this petition, even though any mil simming I'm likely to do these days is in DCS.  But military training ops and non-combat missions are commonplace in the real world, and it's commonplace for those of us in civilian aircraft like airliners to have to mingle with them. Given the seeming goal of realism on VATSIM, including these sorts of options seems like a no-brainer.  There's nothing in a non-combat mission to offend anyone; it's just airplanes flying around, the same as the rest of vatsim.

Now realistically, sure you can already do this stuff on varsim: pick up a clearance with a clearance limit near the start of your low-level for instance, then cancel IFR and proceed VFR until you're done, then pick up a pop-up IFR back home.  There's zero regulatory difference between doing this in a Cessna 172 and an F/A-18.  But it would be more fun and realistic for everyone if these operations were acknowledged as the normal part of the NAS that they really are. 

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I have little to no interest in "military" flying beyond a couple of warbirds in my virtual hangar. So let me ask a couple of "for instances" about a few things. Some of these relate to the "civilian government agency operations" part of A13.

  1. A glider with civil registration making tight turns around a valley in uncontrolled airspace. A glider with the registration/callsign of Air Force Cadets doing exactly the same thing.
  2. A civilian helicopter flying from A to B at low level in uncontrolled airspace. A police helicopter doing exactly the same thing. A military helicopter doing exactly the same thing.
  3. A Cessna 152 with civil registration on a VFR training route at 100 kts. A military basic trainer doing exactly the same thing.
  4. A Cessna 208 with civil registration flying straight and level pretending to drop civilian skydivers. An Alenia C-27J with a military callsign flying straight and level pretending to drop paratroops.
  5. A Spitfire with civil registration G-AIDN (which is privately owned) flying VFR to "Anglesey Airport" (EGOV). A Spitfire with civil registration G-CFGJ (which is owned by the Imperial War Museum, a civilian government agency) doing exactly the same thing. A Spitfire with a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight callsign (owned and operated by the Royal Air Force) doing exactly the same thing to "RAF Valley" (the same airport).
  6. An Aero L-39 with civil registration flying at high speed around the Mach Loop. A BAe Hawk with a military callsign doing exactly the same thing.
  7. A King Air with a civil registration doing circuits at a controlled airport. A King Air using a civil aviation authority callsign doing exactly the same thing (this is done in the real world to calibrate ILS, etc).
  8. A King Air flying between A and B on normal airways using a civil registration callsign. A King Air making exactly the same flight using a civilian government air ambulance callsign (not MED1, simply using the callsign). A King Air making exactly the same flight using a Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia callsign (RFDS is not a government agency, it's a non-profit charity).
  9. A Twin Otter flying repetitive patterns up and down the Florida coast using callsign N48RF. A Twin Otter flying exactly the same patterns using callsign NOAA48.
  10. A 737 flying from Salt Lake City (KSLC) to Las Vagas (KLAS) as SWA4049. A 737 making exactly the same flight as N319BD. A 737 making exactly the same flight as WWW1234 (JANET 1234).

This isn't about gaming the system. It's simply asking what's the difference? In most of these cases, literally the only difference is the callsign.

Edited by David Bromage
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Is it not the case that Military flights are under the control of Military ATC and Civilian traffic cannot hear what's happening?

Alistair Thomson

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Definition: a gentleman is a flying instructor in a Piper Cherokee who can change tanks without getting his face slapped.

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16 minutes ago, Alistair Thomson said:

Is it not the case that Military flights are under the control of Military ATC and Civilian traffic cannot hear what's happening?

Not necessarily. Depends what they are doing.

 

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23 minutes ago, Alistair Thomson said:

Is it not the case that Military flights are under the control of Military ATC and Civilian traffic cannot hear what's happening?

Depends on the country. At least here in Europe all "military transport flights" can be heard on regular ATC channels. I hear those "Herkies", "German Air Force", "Ascots" etc. all the time.

Fighter jets on a mission will usually be on an UHF-frequency with a separate ATC-unit.

Edited by Andreas Fuchs
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57 minutes ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

Fighter jets on a mission will usually be on an UHF-frequency with a separate ATC-unit

That is what I meant, and that would probably include all training flights, which have been the focus of this thread, I think.

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Alistair Thomson

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Definition: a gentleman is a flying instructor in a Piper Cherokee who can change tanks without getting his face slapped.

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  • Board of Governors

We have long-held "rule of thumb" precedent that ALL of the following three criteria for a flight to be considered subject to the VSOA policy:

  1. Type of Aircraft
  2. Callsign
  3. Type of Operation

All 3 criteria must be met for the flight be be subject to VSOA policy.

Just a couple of examples:

  • Two F15's with military callsigns flying in formation is subject to VSOA policy
  • Two Piper Cubs with civilian callsigns flying in formation is fine
  • A B52 with a military callsign that departed a military base with an intent to return to a military base flying on a low level military training route is subject to VSOA policy
  • A civilian L39 that departed a civilian (or even joint-use) airport flying on a low level military training route is fine (though watch out for other traffic, military or civilian, doing the same!)

I know it's not perfectly clear-cut, black or white, no exceptions type definition.  It's meant to be a rule of thumb.  We won't go evaluate a list of every possibility because "ain't nobody got time for that!" 🙂    Appropriate reason is expected by the members attempting the flight as well as those trying to evaluate it's special operations status.  But it has stood the test of time for many, many years.  I do hope this helps.

Don Desfosse
Vice President, Operations

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8 hours ago, Alistair Thomson said:

Is it not the case that Military flights are under the control of Military ATC and Civilian traffic cannot hear what's happening?

Are you talking VATSIM?  The communications rule on VATSIM is that everyone is on 122.800 unless under control of ATC.  So how would a quasi Military Flight change that?

Sean

C1/O P3

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11 minutes ago, Sean Harrison said:

Are you talking VATSIM?  The communications rule on VATSIM is that everyone is on 122.800 unless under control of ATC.  So how would a quasi Military Flight change that?

Yes, I am. Unicom is not used to control aircraft. A quasi-Military training flight would be under the control of Military ATC, not Civil (VATSIM) ATC. If realism is requested, as I believe it is in this thread, then all Military training flights must be under the control of Military ATC and I don't think that's feasible in VATSIM right now.

Alistair Thomson

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Definition: a gentleman is a flying instructor in a Piper Cherokee who can change tanks without getting his face slapped.

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  • Board of Governors

I can't speak for everywhere across the globe, but in the US, military flights operate under civilian ATC plenty of the time.  

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Don Desfosse
Vice President, Operations

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9 hours ago, Alistair Thomson said:

Is it not the case that Military flights are under the control of Military ATC and Civilian traffic cannot hear what's happening?

It is not the case. Even in situations where fighters are on UHF, they're being controlled by normal ATC.  There are plenty of times where you can here a center controller talking to UHF traffic; often his transmissions are broadcast on UHF and VHF, so if you're an aircraft on VHF you hear one side of the conversation.  It would clearly fall within the Vatsim "top down" structure to place this on one freq (as is already done when one of these aircraft is just doing a cross country on Vatsim).

The only specific military ATC is at military airfields (or surrounding a carrier), and a limited form designed to sequence strike aircraft in and out of a target range. I think it's obvious a Vatsim controller would not assume the target range duties, but they already control military airfields in the top-down structure. 

Low-levels are VFR on charted routes; no control, though activity is Notam'd and other aircraft may be advised by ATC to use caution. 

AR can occur on or off charted tracks and happens under the control of the normal Center.

Fighters practicing ACM are cleared into and out of a hot MOA by the Center that normally owns the airspace. 

There really is no "military ATC" in reality that falls outside the bounds of the Vatsim "top down" structure. 

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50 minutes ago, Trevor Hannant said:

UK has EGVV_CTR (Swanwick Mil) that covers Military aerodromes top down when open (it was open for a while this evening). 

Presumably in their own airspace, so like an approach control facility?  Sure, when open. 

But the point is that there aren't separate ATC facilities controlling military flights in civilian airspace. That would not work, as obviously the same controller must be working all traffic within a given airspace.  There can't be multiple controllers working multiple pieces of traffic sharing the same airspace; you can imagine the coordination nightmare that would be. 

So, when in civilian airspace, all military fights are worked by normal civilian ATC, who has to separate them from civilian flights as well as each other. 

This obviously fits well within the Vatsim "top down" philosophy. 

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Area control, covering military Aerodromes top-down as per Civilian Area Control and outside Controlled Airspace in the same way as the UK's Military controllers provide services in some areas of the UK for real plus Temporary Reserved Areas and providing Danger Area Crossing Services.

Trevor Hannant

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Right, so nothing that overlaps with civilian airspace then. 

But the point is, this all fits well within the Vatsim top-down philosophy, right? Just like when these facilities are closed in reality, Center just runs the airspace. 

Edited by Andrew Crowley
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